I am fascinated with the political debate in America, and especially how some view socialism – frankly because it seems that a large part of the
American population have a very different understanding of the word than I.
I say that they have a different understanding of the word and not just a different understanding in general because, when it comes to politics I
personally believe that more often than not, most of us actually agree, and when we don’t it is usually a matter of semantics.
Like I think most of us can agree that a world where all people are happy is a better world than one where no one is. (Does not matter if it is
possible or not, it is a hypothetical question). But once we start talking about how to reach this goal or just try to agree on what happiness is, the
trouble begin. Semantics.
I grew up in Denmark, where we have something called Democratic Socialism also known to some as The Nordic Model. Here the modern social democratic
movement has abandoned the goal of moving toward a socialist economy and instead advocates for social reforms to improve capitalism, such as a welfare
state and unemployment benefits. Same format is seen in countries as Norway, Sweden and Finland.
This kind of socialism has in my opinion brought great prosperity to The Scandinavian countries, and I think it is currently one of the best models
around. Here are some arguments for it:
As a result of its acclaimed "flexicurity" model, Denmark has the freest labour market in Europe, according to the World Bank. Employers can hire
and fire whenever they want (flexibility), and between jobs, unemployment compensation is very high (security). The World Bank ranks Denmark as the
easiest place in Europe to do business. Establishing a business can be done in a matter of hours and at very low costs. Denmark has the 9th highest
export per capita in the world. Denmark has the fourth highest ratio of tertiary degree holders in the world. GDP per hour worked was the 13th highest
in 2009. Denmark has the world's lowest level of income inequality, according to the World Bank Gini (%), and the world's highest minimum wage,
according to the IMF. As of June 2010 the unemployment rate is at 7.4%, which is below the EU average of 9.6%.
In a Gallup survey from 2010, of how large a percentage of the population is thriving, the Danes were (once again) at the top of the list, with a rate
of 72%, followed closely by Sweden and Canada whom are both at 69%. United States comes in at 59% in the same survey.
This may come as a surprise to some - historically, Denmark, like its Scandinavian neighbors, has been one of the most socially progressive cultures
in the world. For example, in 1969, Denmark was the first country to legalize pornography, and in 1989, Denmark enacted a registered partnership law,
becoming the first country in the world to grant same-sex couples nearly all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage.
Also, just wanna throw it in their - Denmark is also among the countires with the highest precentage of athiests.
Most of this information is from wikipedia - en.wikipedia.org...
So – now, I am no genius when it comes to social science. But do feel the above numbers make a pretty convincing case. But I am sure many will
disagree and I am sure some might do so for good reasons, as I am sure some will do so for ignorant reasons.
I am not trying to say that Denmark is perfect. I live here, I know it aint.
But I do feel that socialism; and especially the more modern approaches to socialism are getting and bad rep for no good reason.
I think socialism is a fundamental part of civilized society, and without it we could never have reached the quality of life that many, here in the
western world, have today. Mainly because civilizations aren’t build buy individuals, but by a whole group of people working together – and in
order for people to do so they need to feel safe, and not just from terrorism, organized crime or other such extremities, but economically and
I am sure more people lie sleepless at night from not being able to pay their bills, than for any other reason what so ever.
So why not a war on poverty? Properly because there is no obvious profit to be made.
But there is though. A better world, better quality of living, and indirectly a more effective workforce.
Now, I just want to tackle one last thing and I’ll try to make it short, because I am sensing that this post is already all over the place.
Yes, we do have problems with people exploiting the system here in Denmark. This is no secret, and I think it is safe to say that this is one of the
biggest arguments against it and for this I have no solution. But I do not think it is that big of a problem, generally because I do not believe that
man is inherently greedy, or not for money anyway. It is equally important, if not more, for people to feel socially accepted and feel like they are
improving in whatever field might interest them. Computer games and sports are great examples of this – even though a very small portion of players
might be able to live of it, most just play for fun – to interact socially and improve themselves.
Only when people fear that there is not enough for their family and themself do people get greedy.
Man, there is so much more I wanna say, but I think you get my point – or I hope you do.
And if you disagree, then please be gentle.